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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Governor Kelly Adds New Phase To “Ad Astra” Reopening Plan

Kelly: COVID-19 metrics indicate progress, but caution still needed

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

This afternoon, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order 20-32, which establishes a new phase to the “Ad Astra: Plan to Reopen Kansas.” The new “1.5” Phase, effective May 18, 2020, continues reopening efforts while preserving some data-driven restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.

“The good news is that hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths continue to decline, enabling us to move forward with our efforts to safely reopen Kansas,” said Kelly. “Unfortunately, the daily rate of disease spread has not shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase 2. I said from the beginning that public safety must remain the top priority, which means that our reopening efforts must be driven by data, not dates. Phase 1.5 will continue our transition, but with necessary caution.”

Key Phase 1.5 highlights:

  • Mass gatherings of more than 10 individuals continue to be prohibited;
  • Nail salons, barber shops, hair salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and other personal service businesses where close contact cannot be avoided may open, but only for pre-scheduled appointments or online check-in;
  • Fitness centers and health clubs may open, but in-person group classes may not occur and locker rooms must be closed except as necessary to use restroom facilities.
  • In-person commencement or graduation ceremonies may occur with no more than 10 individuals in a room, gymnasium, or facility at one time as long as 6-foot social distancing is maintained. Outdoor drive-through graduation ceremonies during which no more than 10 individuals are in the same area outside of their vehicles at a time (i.e. school administration, graduate, family members, etc.) are allowed.

Under Phase 1.5, the following, unless they are repurposed for use in an essential function under the Kansas Essential Function Framework, shall remain closed to the public:

  • Bars and night clubs, excluding already operating curbside and carryout services;
  • Non-tribal Casinos;
  • Theaters, museums, and other indoor leisure spaces (trampoline parks, arcades, etc.);
  • Community centers;
  • Outdoor and indoor large entertainment venues with capacity of 2,000 or more;
  • Fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades;
  • Swimming pools (other than backyard pools);
  • Organized sports facilities, sports tournaments, sports games, and sports practices; and
  • Summer camps.

The Governor will evaluate the state’s disease spread, testing rates, death rates, hospitalizations, ability of state and local public health authorities to contain outbreaks and conduct contact tracing, and personal protective equipment availability when determining if the state should move to the next “Phase.” Regardless of phase, the State Health Officer retains the authority to impose additional public health interventions in any area that contains an emergent and significant public health risk.

Throughout all phases, Kansans should continue to adhere to hygiene and social distancing protocols, including:

  • Washing hands frequently, while avoiding contact with one’s face;
  • Remaining home when sick or running a fever;
  • Following isolation and quarantine orders issued by state or local health officers;
  • Wearing a cloth face mask when in public;
  • Working remotely, if possible.

Kelly’s “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas,” is available in full at covid.ks.gov, in addition to industry-specific guidance for Kansas businesses.

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